Immunological hallmarks of stromal cells in the tumour microenvironment

Nat Rev Immunol. 2015 Nov;15(11):669-82. doi: 10.1038/nri3902. Epub 2015 Oct 16.


A dynamic and mutualistic interaction between tumour cells and the surrounding stroma promotes the initiation, progression, metastasis and chemoresistance of solid tumours. Far less understood is the relationship between the stroma and tumour-infiltrating leukocytes; however, emerging evidence suggests that the stromal compartment can shape antitumour immunity and responsiveness to immunotherapy. Thus, there is growing interest in elucidating the immunomodulatory roles of the stroma that evolve within the tumour microenvironment. In this Review, we discuss the evidence that stromal determinants interact with leukocytes and influence antitumour immunity, with emphasis on the immunological attributes of stromal cells that may foster their protumorigenic function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Movement
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Fibroblasts / physiology
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / physiology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology
  • Stromal Cells / immunology*
  • Tumor Microenvironment*